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To realize the true intent of the Constitution, poverty must be eliminated

The absolute supremacy … of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power … It means, again, equality before the law, or the equal subject

The Minister stated that the percentage of South Africans living below the poverty line has increased from 18.7 million in 2011 to 21.9 million in 2015.
Ronald Lamola, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister, says that all South Africans need to meet their basic needs and that poverty must be eliminated in order for the Constitution’s true intents to be realized.

The Minister spoke during a celebration marking the 25th anniversary of the Constitution’s coming into force.

The Constitution was officially signed by former President Nelson Mandela in December 1996.

Lamola said that while the last 25 years have seen the advancement of human rights in South Africa, some South Africans still live in poverty. This leaves the government with much work to do.

He stated that while government programs have protected millions of South Africans from the devastation of poverty over the past 25-years, poverty levels remain high and inconsistent with government vision and development goals.

The Minister stated that the percentage of South Africans living below the poverty line has increased from 18.7 million people in 2011 to 21.9 million in 2015.

He said that this was a sign that the Constitution’s preamble to improve the quality of life for all citizens has not been fulfilled.

“It is evident that Vision 2030 of [National Development Plan] cannot be allowed to deteriorate in order for this Constitution to have its fullest meaning. Realizing an ethical, capable state is not an aspiration. It is a necessity to make South Africa a better place and ensure that everyone has access to basic necessities.

He stated, “It’s through the Constitution that can improve the quality life of all citizens, unleash the potential of every person and build a uniformed and democratic South Africa capable of taking its rightful place in the family of Nations.”

Lamola acknowledged that “the delivery Constitutional promises has been inconsistent.”

“But, it can’t be us who make the Constitution a living reality and send mixed signals about how South Africans should interact with it.

“If we members of the Executive take the Constitution off our hands, it is a mockery to our oaths of office and our duty of service to this great nation and its true potential which is acknowledged by the Constitution.”

He said that while South Africans are intrinsically entitled to all the rights contained in the Constitution, citizens must also agree to abide by the rule of laws.

“Our following of the Rule of Law must not be based upon what is pronounced in the judiciary, but on a total commitment by all South Africans to justice in its truest form.

Lamola stated that “We must continue respecting the rule of law [and] the contract that binds us together if we want to grow as nations.”